muttonbird.jpgMutton birds leave

When: April - May

Where: Bass Strait and south-east coast

The shearwater (mutton bird) is the most abundant Australian seabird. From September to April, around 23 million short-tailed shearwaters breed in about 285 colonies in south-eastern Australia. Eighteen million of these arrive in Tasmania each year.

There are at least 167 colonies in Tasmania and an estimated 11.4 million burrows. The young chicks hatch in January and rapidly put on weight before the departure of the parents in early April.

Two to three weeks after the parents have left, the young birds begin their migratory flight.

Image credit: Joe Shemesh